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L-45404 | AUGUST
7, 1987
FACTS: The laundrywoman for plaintif-appellant Ruiz fled an administrative charge against
defendant-appellee, Ucol. Ucol, in her answer, alleged that Tagaca was merely used as a tool
by Ruiz, who wanted to get back at Ucol because of a case fled by Ucols husband against
Ruiz. She was also alleged to have made remarks that Ruiz instigated the complaint and
fabricated the charges. When the administrative case was dismissed, the Ruiz fled his own
criminal complaint for libel against Ucol based on the alleged libelous portion of Ucol's
answer. The lower court acquitted Ucol on the ground that her guilt was not established
beyond reasonable doubt. The trial court as to the civil liability of the accused made no
pronouncement. Instead of appealing, Ruiz fled a separate civil action for damages based
on the same information upon which the libel case was founded. Ucol fled a motion to
dismiss, stating that the action had prescribed and that the cause of action was barred by
the decision in the criminal case for libel. The trial court granted the motion to dismiss, on
the ground of res judicata. On appeal, the appellate court certifed the case to the Supreme
On the other hand, Ucol fles an appeal for certiorari, questioning the dissenting opinion of
the CA.
ISSUES: (1) Whether or not the civil action for damages was already barred by the criminal case of
(2) WON an appeal may be fled questioning a courts dissenting opinion.
RULINGS: (1) The contentions of the petitioner have no merit. Art. 33 of the Civil Code states that
independently of a criminal action for defamation, a civil suit for the recovery of damages
arising therefrom may be brought by the injured party. The civil liability arising from the
crime charged may still be determined in the criminal proceedings if the ofended party does
not waive to have it adjudged, or does not reserve his right to institute a separate civil action
against the defendant. The Supreme Court did not fnd any defamatory imputation, which
causes dishonor, or discredit to the complainant. Instead, the Supreme Court said that the
fndings in the criminal case show a pattern of harassment. Ruiz was said to have threw the
frst stone by manipulating the complaint of Tagaca in order to get back at Ucol. For the
Supreme Court, Ucol was the victim of an unprovoked, unjustifed and libelous attack
against her honor, honesty, character and reputation; she has a right to self-defense, which
she did in her answer, to protect her honesty and integrity and the very job upon which her
family depends on for their livelihood.
(2) It would be elementary to know that a dissenting opinion is not the decision of the case.
What is subject to appeal or a special civil action would be the majority opinion of the court.
FACTS: Petitioner fled a criminal case of estafa against Tang and Olanday, respondents, at CFI-
Later, at CFI-Quezon, Tang and Olanday fled a civil case against the petitioner, contesting
that the receipt signed by them in relation to the estafa case was void, on the ground that
they had never received the amount indicated therein, and that their signatures were
secured by means of fraud, deceit and intimidation allegedly employed by the petitioner.
Tang and Olanday also fled a motion that the criminal case be suspended on the ground
that the determination of the issue involved in the civil case they fled was a prejudicial
Judge Alberto Averia, also one of the respondents in the case at bar, granted the said
ISSUE: WON the determination of the issue raised in the civil case is a prejudicial question, in the
sense that it must be resolved frst before the proceedings in the criminal case may proceed.
RULING: No. Jurisprudence-wise, in the case of People v. Aragon, the requisites of a prejudicial
question are as follows:
(1)Question claimed to be prejudicial must be determinative of the case before the
(2)Jurisdiction to try and resolve said question must be lodged in another tribunal.
Alleged prejudicial question was held to be not determinative of the guilt or innocence of the
parties charged with estafa, since their guilt may still be established by other means of
evidentiary support. Had the respondents been charged of falsifcation, their contention
would have been tenable.